Changing things up a little bit, this bit is on the best and most memorable Lion Kickers and Punters. Lets face it, what they do is a pretty thankless job, and yet they are expected to do so much for a Football team. Scoring, field position, and clutch are just some of the things that are expected of kickers. So often they play a handful of plays and then are left to decide a game in some form or fashion, so here are some of the more memorable Lion Kickers.
Tom Hay 1977-1978-The Lion Kicker kicked one of the most important points in Lion History. Texas A&I had come to Commerce riding a 46 game winning streak in the middle of their national dominance. The Lions played them tough that game, but the Hoggies had a 6-0 late in the game. A brilliant drive led by Lion QB Terry Skinner tied the game at 6 a piece, but the Lions had a chance to win it without having to go for two. The Hoggies of A&I lined up with 11 on the line to block the kick, but Hay took one step straight and split the uprights perfectly and the streak ended. Known as a being as cool as a cucumber, Hay very rarely missed an extra point or field goal in his two seasons in Commerce.
Cameron Frosch-2010-2013-One of the more modern guys, Frosch doubled up as a place kicker and punter. During the 2012 season, he was extremely instramental in pinning opponents deep on kickoffs and also on punts, and had a knack for kicking in the rough weather. Frosch holds the school record for most punting yards in a career and now teaches a punting and kicking school and had some NFL teams look at him, including the Dallas Cowboys.
Chase Thrasher-2012-2015. Thrasher, a strong legged kicker took over the kicking duties and also could hit field goals from 45 yards plus out. One of the best Kickoff Average specialists, Thrasher would also etch his place in the top 5 in punting in school history as well.
David Dell-1995-1998. As a Freshman Kicker, he was an integral part of the 1995 playoff team. He is second all time for most kicking points scored in a game (16) , and also a whopping 84 points in a season during his Freshman campaign in 1995. His average made FG was 41 yards. That is an average make. Pretty amazing.
Dan Roberson-1983-1986. Maybe the most consistent punter in school history, he averaged 39 yards per punt for 4 years, including a stellar 40 yards per average his final year. A standout kicker in a thankless job.
Cubby Gillingwater-1992-1993. Another guy with high averages, he averaged 42 yards per punt. Now people would ask, why would you make stats such a big deal. This guy kicked in Abilene, Blackwater Draw, San Angelo, where a 35 MPH wind is a gentle breeze, and let us not forget that a Commerce north prairie wind can be quite unforgiving as well to the kicker. Remember that 84 yard punt in Abilene? Most do.
Before we get to the man voted the best, Randy Jones, who kicked from 1981-82, led the team in punting and was first in the conference in average, and he nailed a 59 yard field goal in 1982 against Abilene Christian. Chris Dolan 1994-95, also led the conference in punting from 1994-1995, averaging 41 yards per punt. Again factor in where these guys had to kick at.
And the kicking Oscar goes to………..
Billy Watkins. 1990-1993. Watkins is the all time leading scorer in Lion Football History, and is etched in the hallows of Lion Football for all he did. Being the kicker on 3 teams that scored a lot, he was almost 100 percent on extra points for a 4 year career, and was the leading scorer for 4 straight years. A native of Sulphur Springs, he was an advocate and a face for East Texas State Lion Football by telling the Dallas Morning News that not only did he like to be in Commerce, but he wanted to be there kicking for the Lions. With 281 career points, and 49 field goals to go along with 134 PAT’s (to go along with leading the team in punting in 1991), every Lion kicker, past and present knows about Billy Watkins. Now a teacher and coach at Rockwall High, the Hall of Fame kicker put up points that may never be broken by another Lion kicker, he was described by teammates as a kicker who comes only once in a generation. I’ll agree to that.